Owens Corning fiberglass bolstered 3D printing filament boosts efficiency

Test components 3D printing with GF30-PP filament.  Photo via Owens Corning

Functional prototypes are an important application for industrial 3D printing. Materials used in components for aircraft, automobiles, electronics, or sports must be reliable and inexpensive for product development.

For light, high-strength parts like those found in F1 vehicles or the core composites of snowboards, fiber reinforcements are an excellent solution.

Owens Corning, a leading supplier of fiberglass composites, has introduced a range of fiberglass reinforced filaments for FFF / FDM 3D printers. XSTRAND ™ filaments are a strong and resilient improvement over standard or carbon fiber-filled ABS or pure PP. Owens Corning’s range of 3D printing filaments will be available from US retailers including IC3D and iMakr.

The first product in the Owens Corning range of 3D printing filaments is GF30-PP, a glass fiber reinforced polypropylene. In a case study at the French manufacturer of ski outerwear and equipment, Rossignol GF30-PP passed the extreme alpine tests for a new range of mountain products.

Test components 3D printing with GF30-PP filament. Photo via Owens Corning

Bringing the know-how of composites into 3D printing filaments

Owens Corning was founded in 1938. Today, its fiberglass material is found in key insulation materials that provide insulation for commercial, industrial and residential properties. The roofing products provide home protection solutions and the fiberglass is used in hundreds of composite applications. Owens Corning saw the potential for higher performing composites in additive manufacturing and in 2016 decided to use their expertise to develop the XSTRAND ™ range.

XSTRAND ™ GF30-PP has a glass fiber content of 30%. This unique composition gives the material a number of outstanding and often complementary properties. The 3D printed XSTRAND ™ GF30-PP produces parts with high rigidity and excellent resistance to temperature, chemicals and UV light.

The fiber content of the filament reduces the warpage / shrinkage that can occur with typical PP materials. The added fibers also increase the measured tensile modulus. Provides between 50% and 250% improvement over nylon-based ABS and PA6 materials. In addition to an excellent tensile modulus, the XSTRAND ™ filament has good thermal performance properties and offers a performance that comes close to that of the cheaper unfilled thermoplastics.

Material comparison that records the properties of XSTRAND filaments with other common filaments.  Image via Owens CorningMaterial comparison in which the properties of XSTRAND ™ filaments are recorded with other common filaments. Image via Owens Corning

Function prototypes for 3D printing

A recent case study on 3D printing shows how Rossignol uses XSTRAND ™ GF30-PP filament to create functional prototypes for ski equipment.

“A few years ago,” explains Nicolas Puget, Advanced Research Manager at Rossignol, “we started using ABS filament like everyone else in the industry: at best it was good to make models quickly, but not good for functional prototyping . ”

Nicolas Puget, Rossignol's Advanced Research Manager, explains the value of GF30-PP material to the company's product development.  Image via Owens CorningNicolas Puget, Rossignol’s Advanced Research Manager, explains the value of GF30-PP material to the company’s product development. Image via Owens Corning

With GF30-PP, Puget and the team can quickly prototype a number of new products using 3D printing, including skis ladder pads, slalom tip deflectors, and bar handles. In tests, the material has proven to be able to withstand real snow conditions in cold chambers and to withstand a number of important standardized tensile tests.

Arnaud Moenne-Loccoz, Research and Development Engineer at Rossignol also explains: “It is the first reinforced material that I tried to print as easily as ABS. We just had to adjust the build bed material. “

Update your 3D printing material

Due to the glass fiber content, XSTRAND ™ GF-30 PP can gradually carry a standard brass extruder. To optimize the life of these components, Owens Corning recommends 3D printing with a hardened steel extruder. A perforated building board, HDPE film and suitable adhesive also ensure optimal performance during construction.

XSTRAND ™ GF-30 PP is available in both standard diameters for 3D printer raw materials – 1.75 and 2.85 mm – and can be purchased on either a 500 g or 2200 g spool.

Buy XSTRAND ™ GF30-PP filament now to take your functional prototyping to the next level.

For more information on the XSTRAND ™ range of materials, please contact Owens Corning directly at the following email address: [email protected].

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The picture shown shows the XSTRAND ™ GF30-PP filament. Photo via Owens Corning

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